Saturday 6 August 2022

Book Review: The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings (Dystopian Fantasy)

Title: The Women Could Fly
Author: Megan Giddings
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Publication Date: 9 August 2022
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Genre: Dystopian Fantasy
Source: ARC from Publisher

Josephine Thomas has heard every conceivable theory about her mother's disappearance. That she was kidnapped. Murdered. That she took on a new identity to start a new family. That she was a witch. This is the most worrying charge because in a world where witches are real, peculiar behavior raises suspicions and a woman--especially a Black woman--can find herself on trial for witchcraft.

But fourteen years have passed since her mother's disappearance, and now Jo is finally ready to let go of the past. Yet her future is in doubt. The State mandates that all women marry by the age of 30--or enroll in a registry that allows them to be monitored, effectively forfeiting their autonomy. At 28, Jo is ambivalent about marriage. With her ability to control her life on the line, she feels as if she has her never understood her mother more. When she's offered the opportunity to honor one last request from her mother's will, Jo leaves her regular life to feel connected to her one last time.

In this powerful and timely novel, Megan Giddings explores the limits women face--and the powers they have to transgress and transcend them.


I finished The Women Could Fly a couple of days ago, but I couldn't post my review until now as I was busy with work. Also, I needed a little time to process what I had read on this occasion and decide how to review it. Let me reverse my usual process and say first off that I am giving this book 3.5 stars. Now I will explain why. On the positive side, I loved the premise of this story; the interesting blurb is what drew me to request a review copy. The story had a lot of promise, not only from a feminist point of view but also in terms of representing other minority groups. In many ways it met that promise, raising interesting 'what-if' scenarios and thought-provoking questions. It reminded me a lot of The Handmaid's Tale, so if you liked that book/series you will probably enjoy this book too. Where the book fell down for me was in the execution of the world building. Comments about the world in which the characters lived were put forward but often never fully explain. Regarding LGBT+ rights, for example, I was unsure exactly how things stood based on some seemingly contradictory statements. The same was true when Josephine visited another society of which we were given an intriguing glimpse, but which also left me with more questions than answers. Perhaps that vagueness was intentional, but personally it left me a little frustrated. I am sure many people will love this book. For me, it was a good and intriguing read, but at times I wanted a little more than it gave me.

I received this book as a free ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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